Strep throat fact sheet

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  1. The most common cause of a sore throat of less than 1 week duration which requires an antibiotic is Group A Beta Hemolytic Streptococcus. Other rare causes include Neisseria Gonorrhea and Peritonsillar Abscess.

  1. A sore throat may be caused by Strep if the following signs and symptoms are present:

    • Fever (usually greater than 101 degrees)

    • Exudates on the tonsils (white spots)

    • Tender, enlarged lymph nodes of the neck

    • Palatal Petechia (small bruises on the roof of the mouth)

    • Beefy, red, enlarged tonsils

  • Less than 3 of these signs indicate a less than 30% chance of Strep being present.

Note: A runny nose or nasal congestion argues against Strep Throat being present.

  1. Treating this infection with antibiotics only shortens the duration of symptoms by 12-24 hours.

  1. Antibiotic treatment does help prevent the complication of Rheumatic Fever (this can damage the heart valves).

  • Keep in mind, however, that even with no antibiotics Rheumatic Fever is a complication of Strep Throat in only 1 of 4,000 cases.

  1. As long as antibiotics are started within 9 days of symptom onset, Rheumatic Fever can be prevented.

  1. Once antibiotics are begun, it takes 24 hours for the infection to no longer be spread to other people.

The best antibiotics for this infection are Penicillin, Amoxicillin and Erythromycin.

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